My lab worked well but I’m not sure whether I should just leave him to have a good rest until next season or start summer gun dog training to maintain his interest and ability. I want to know the best way to start sumer gun dog training. Any suggestions?

Jeremy Hunt says: If he’s had a busy season I’m sure he’ll enjoy some time off to regain some condition after a strenuous winter’s work – although that will depend on how much he’s been doing.

A correctly trained gun dog shouldn’t lose any of its skills or enthusiasm during the close season; much of what he has been doing is born out of his natural instincts harnessed through his training.

It will be far better for him – both physically and mentally – to be able to do something other than just laze idly about during the spring and summer so that his steadiness and retrieving skills remain carefully honed.

There are summer gun dog training classes held all over the UK, starting in the spring and running through until the early autumn.

Most operate in their own right although others will be associated with one of the regional labrador clubs.

I’m sure you’ll be able to use one of these training sessions to maintain and improve your gun dog’s working ability.

Having embarked upon a weekly training session, you may well be encouraged to enter one of the many working tests held during the summer.

These summer gun dog training sessions are a great way to help you learn more about your gun dog’s ability and enable you to put your handling skills to the test in competitions.

Summer gun dog training scurries are one of the most popular events held at country fairs and county shows during the summer months.

These are certainly great fun but can engender a degree of hyperactivity that doesn’t necessarily suit all gun dogs.

If none of this appeals you can get hold of a catalogue produced by one of the gun dog training equipment companies.

Through these you can fit yourself up with an array of training dummies, launchers and all manner of other kit that’s now become a part of the modern idiom of gun dog training.

Armed with your bag full of plastic ducks, game scent, balls covered in rabbit skins and a selection of canvas dummies, you could join up with a friend and have your own summer gun dog training sessions.

For more gundog training advice click here

 

 


 

 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 

 


 

 


 


 

 


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • MaryB

    My young working labrador has always attracted positive comments from trainers and judges. She competed in working tests in her first year, but was always eliminated for running in at some point of the test, when she didn’t she would get an excellent score. She has remained under control when I’ve taken her on shoots and picked up last season. She was very fast in her first year, but had little self control. Now at last at 2 years of age she is able to “walk up” in training off the lead without running in, but has become signifantly slower and sometimes even hesitant. Is this a result of over-training, or would her speed return if I started competing in field trials, rather than working tests?